1133 GMT October 22, 2019
The United States officially opened its deeply controversial Al-Quds embassy on Monday in a ceremony that included a video address by President Donald Trump.
Trump told the ceremony that the United States remained committed to reaching a lasting Middle East peace though the move of its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Al-Quds has provoked outrage.
A plaque and seal was unveiled at the ceremony officially opening the embassy.
US ambassador to Israel David Friedman also spoke at the ceremony and Trump was given a standing ovation when he mentioned him.
Friedman referred to the embassy's location as "Jerusalem (Al-Quds), Israel" drawing wild applause.
“Today we open the United States embassy in Jerusalem (Al-Quds), Israel,” Friedman said at the inaugural ceremony, attended by a US delegation from Washington and Israeli officials.
US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan led the Washington delegation at the inauguration that also included Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, both White House aides, as well as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in lockstep with Trump over fulfilling a long-standing US promise to move the embassy to the holy city, hailed the move.
‘Day of great shame’
Iran’s foreign minister called today’s opening of the US embassy “a day of great shame.”
Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday wrote on Twitter: “Israeli regime massacres countless Palestinians in cold blood as they protest in the world’s largest open air prison. Meanwhile, Trump celebrates move of US illegal embassy and his Arab collaborators move to divert attention.”
Zarif likely was referring to Persian Gulf Arab countries, which didn’t commented on Israel’s killing of Palestinians.
In Gaza, violent clashes erupted along the Gaza Strip's border, leaving at least 43 Palestinians dead from Israeli fire and 900 wounded in the conflict's bloodiest day in years.
It was the highest Palestinian death toll in a single day since a series of protests began at the fence with Israel on March 30, and since the 2014 Gaza war.
Tens of thousands had gathered near the fence in protest while smaller numbers of stone-throwing Palestinians approached the fence and sought to break through, with Israeli snipers positioned on the other side.
Clouds of black smoke from tires set alight by demonstrators rose in the air.
“Today is the big day when we will cross the fence and tell Israel and the world we will not accept being occupied forever,” said Gaza science teacher Ali.
Al-Quds’ status is perhaps the thorniest issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Trump’s recognition of contested Al-Quds as Israel’s capital in December outraged Palestinians, who said the United States could no longer serve as an honest broker in any peace process with Israel.
Israel considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see East Al-Quds as the capital of their future state.
AFP, AP and Reuters contributed to this story.